Nokken Strandvej – 1
Tuesday, 16th of June 2015
My accomodation has been situated right in the center of Amager in the street called Tingvej so heading to Amager Fælled – my aim in the west of the island – only took several few minutes by bike. First of all I wanted to cross the whole green park like field and head towards the Sydhavnen canal. I passed the university and the metro and reached the huge park which is quite plane, only a few little hills rise between all those trees and swamp like bodies of water. I traversed some gardens and arrived at this bench in front of Frederiksholmsløbet. Even though one could already feel that it should soon begin to rain and the wind was very strong, this somehow arcadian spot invited me to rest for a while.
I sat down and listened which sounds this place would have to offer and decided to make some recordings there because natural sounds (birds, wind, water) clashed interestingly with sounds by ships, contruction works and traffic. The wind gusts have even been stronger than on monday so recording with the cardioid microphones nearly seemed impossible. I chose the binaural headphone mics attached to the ZOOM H1. I wore a hoody so I could put on the hood and turn my back against the wind. As a consequence I could capture some sequences without having disturbing wind noises inside the files. Even though I had to apply a low cut at around 70 Hz already to avoid buzzing noises. I also had to reduce the highs from 7 kHz onwards to smoothen the wind sounds of the trees a bit.
Sound example (collage of different takes)
Just a few meters to walk from this bench I found the jetty that was closed by a metal door hitting against its frame due to the strong wind. I already noticed this sound before but did not know where it derived from. The ever changing wind conditions made it impossible to localize sounds correctly… The jetty allowed me to capture the sound of the waves hitting against little sailboats and of course the door itself still using the headphone mics. Also omnipresent were construction work and traffic sounds reaching me from far away as soon as the wind blew from a certain direction. Unfortunately the ever changing wind was also the reason why there are some few distrubances in the recordings around 70 to 100 Hz that later had to be eliminated in the compositional process.
Playground – 2
Happy that it did not start to rain I continued my tour heading towards Sjællandsbroen. I stopped at a playground where a group of children in the kindergarden age and three guardians were playing. I sat down on a bench and decided to record this ambience by using the ZOOM H4n and its internal mics only for not attracting attention. First I recorded with a wide angle of 120° but then when my ears got attracted by the sound of children throwing stones upon a plastic slide I changed to angle to 90° to get this resonances more detailed. Already in this moment I had the idea to attach my contact mics underneath the slide to record the stones falling upon the surface and hoped that the group would go away soon. I recorded over fifteen minutes in both angle characteristics but the group still remained there playing. The following sound example is a collage of those recordings wherein the first half was recorded with an angle of 120° and the second in 90°. No equalizing had to be done.
Hill Near A Motocross Track – 3
As the wind was getting a bit less stronger I thought makeing some recordings on this hill near to Sjællandsbroen could be interesting especially due to the fact that it’s situated near to a shipyard and a highway. I climbed the tiny hill and installed my equipment: I chose the ORTF (90°) position for my cardioid mics mounted on the boom arm and recorded several minutes while doing slowly a 360° turn. With this set up and movement I intended to capture the clashes between mechanical and natural sounds that are ubiquitous also in Amagerfælled in a propper way. Unfortunately this did not turn out to work as expected. Even though the recordings are useful in the end. There’s only a little low cut at 47 Hz and I’m happy that there was no need to filter out the lower frequencies more than that.
See the two main clashing views from the hill: The shipyard in the front and a motocross track just opposite to it in the back. The track was from a special interest for me: After the lawn sprinkler ended up with irrigating the track one of them still leaked out some water. The sound was very exceptional heard from the top of the hill. I approached the leaking sprinkler always fearing that all could start over again and my equipment would be watered. I set up two supercardiod in X/Y (90°) and captured the water leaking out of the sprinkler which was a sound of flowing water yet unheard on Amager. With the supercardioid mics I could concentrate the center of the recordings directly towards the sprinkler. The recordings had a lot of high frequencies that had to be filtered out a bit to smoothen the all in all sound of the flowing and dropping water. The sound example below combines impressions of all the recordings.
Slide – 4
While preparing to leave the hill I saw the kindergarten group leaving the playground and immediately decided to go back to the playgrounf to realize my idea of recording stones falling upon the slide with my contact microphones.
I attached the contact mics and the ZOOM H1 to the bottom of the slide while the right piezo was taped in the upper and the left one in the lower area. With this set up the following stones on the sliede’s surface are naturally producing a nice stereo panorama which should be very helpful in the compositional process of the diffusion sound piece. Not only the rolling stones but also the little children’s shovel which I used to throw them onto the slide produced interesting resonances: I scratched the surface with the little tool and what resulted could be heard in the following sound example.
Center Amager Fælled – 5
After all those windy, noisy and mechanical sounds I wished to detect some recordings of singing birds without being interrupted by construction works or helicopter noises. Therefore I decided to head towards a spot in the center of Amager Fælled surrounded by trees, situated next to the muddy waters. Luckily the sun came out and the birds started to sing louder and louder. After some time I reached a cosy spot where at first appearance I found what I have been looking for: A glade next to a tiny stream surrounded by trees where primarily the cukoo was singing and the wind moved the leaves of the trees. Even though I used the supercardioid mics it was impossible to pretend which sounds would be captured. Due to the ever changing direction of the wind either some remote traffic noises or the same contruction work sounds as before occured from time to time. Despite its vastness and landscape like athmosphere Amager Fælled seemed very urban regarding its audible ambience. This culminated with a low-flying tiny plane passing above my head – planes and helicopters are just omnipresent on Amager. Continously the clash between natural and cultural aspects was manifesting itself soundwise. This marked the end of my recording session in the west of the island.